I had been in touch with MacKenzie & Marr, as I was very interested in a Grand Manon. I didn't expect to see one for many months. Out of the blue, John Marr informed me that one had become available. I was pretty excited.
I've been playing guitar for over fifty-five years, and my first steel string acoustic was a Gibson J-50 (another slope-shouldered dreadnaught) which I had sold in order to buy a Martin D-28 in 1974. I still have that guitar. Some years later I passed up the opportunity to buy a J-45. I mention this because I'd never purchased an acoustic sight unseen (and unheard!), but your reviews were good, the guitar looked beautiful, and frankly, the price is irresistible. So I purchased it.
As mentioned, I still have my beautiful old D-28, and also have access to a Taylor 314-CE. So the Grand Manon had a high bar to vault. It cleared the bar.
Although I haven't "A-B-C'd" the guitars next to each other, after playing the Grand Manan, I played the Taylor and Martin, which are in a different location. The Grand Manon has all the tone of the Taylor, which is brighter than my Martin, and I do like that. I also expect the Grand Manon will warm with time, yet the tone is very full across the spectrum and I'm very happy with it right from the start. I mentioned passing on a J-45 some years ago, and frankly, its tone was muddy. I loved the look but hoped I'd find something better. I'm glad I waited. The intonation on the Grand Manon is perfect. The harmonics are crystal clear all over. Incidentally, your YouTube reviews just have flat pickers, which is great, but I'd love to see some different styles.
The finish is beautiful. The joint work is clean. I like the machines, although I'm pretty used to close backed Grovers, and so at first I wasn't sure about the opened gears, but the ratio is very precise and I do like the retro feel of them. It just took a few minutes to grow accustomed to the look. The action is just where I like it, and I play and chord all over the neck. I appreciate the flat finish on the neck. Moving quickly is effortless.
I'm pretty sure the thin pickguard, included, is designed to discourage anyone from using it. On the other hand, perhaps its lightness is meant to minimize loss of tone. Either way, I won't attach it. A good hardshell case is also included.
I actually have not been able to plug the guitar in yet, but unless there is a problem with the wiring, I'm sure it will sound fine.
I am very very pleased with my new Grand Manon. My thanks to John for notifying me of its availability, and expediting the shipping so promptly. I look forward to recommending MacKenzie & Marr to other musicians.